Customised salary surveys

Conducting a customised salary survey involves a systematic approach to gathering and analyzing relevant data.

As companies strive to attract and retain skilled professionals, they are constantly seeking ways to differentiate themselves and offer compelling remuneration packages.

 One strategy gaining traction is the adoption of customised salary surveys. In this article, we explore the concept of customised salary surveys and outline the key reasons why every business should consider implementing this approach.

What are customised salary surveys?

Customised salary surveys, also referred to as tailored or personalized surveys, are compensation analyses designed to reflect an organization's unique labor market and industry.

Instead of relying on off-the-shelf surveys that provide generic, one-size-fits-all data, customised surveys enable businesses to select their comparators, such as specific industry sectors and job types.

This results in a tailored compensation analysis that accurately reflects the value of an organization's roles within its unique context.

Conducting customised salary survey

Conducting a customised salary survey involves a systematic approach to gathering and analyzing relevant data.

The process begins with defining the survey's objectives, determining the specific roles and positions to be included, and identifying the key competitors and comparators.

Next, salary data is collected from the selected comparators using salary data collection templates.

The collected data is then analyzed to determine market trends, averages, and percentiles, providing a comprehensive understanding of the competitive landscape.

The final step involves applying the survey findings to inform the organization's compensation strategy, ensuring that salaries are competitive, equitable, and aligned with industry standards.

Choosing comparators

Choosing the right comparators is a critical step in conducting a customised salary survey.

While considering factors such as industry, size, culture, and location is important, the core factor is to focus on comparators where you are losing your key staff.

This means looking beyond your sector alone and identifying organizations that are poaching your talent.

These organizations may be in different industries or sectors, but they are attractive to your employees and are likely to be competitive in terms of salary and benefits.

By selecting comparators that are relevant to your talent pool, you can ensure that your salary survey provides accurate and relevant market data, enabling you to develop a competitive compensation strategy that attracts and retains top talent.

In addition, it's essential to consider multiple factors when choosing comparators, including their business model, job roles, and market presence.

This will help you identify organizations that are truly comparable to yours and provide a realistic benchmark for your salary survey.

Using multiple comparators will also ensure a representative sample, and regularly reviewing and updating your comparators will keep your survey relevant and accurate.

By focusing on comparators where you are losing key staff and considering multiple factors, you can ensure that your customised salary survey provides the insights you need to stay competitive in the market and attract and retain the best talent.

Accurate market data

Customised salary surveys provide accurate market data, which is essential for developing a competitive compensation strategy.

By collecting data from relevant comparators, businesses can determine the market rate for specific roles, ensuring that their salaries are competitive and attractive to top talent.

Accurate market data also enables organisations to identify trends and patterns in the market, allowing them to adjust their compensation strategy accordingly.

This information is particularly valuable in industries with high turnover rates or intense competition for talent, where a competitive salary can be a key differentiator.

By relying on accurate market data, businesses can make informed decisions about their compensation strategy, ultimately attracting and retaining the best talent.

Analysis and insights

Compa ratio analysis is a crucial step in understanding how your organization's salaries compare to the market.

A comp ratio of 80% indicates that your organization's salaries are 20% below market average, while a ratio of 95% indicates that your salaries are 5% below market average.

A ratio of 105% shows that your salaries are 5% above market average.

For instance, if the market average salary for an ICT manager is $10,000, and your organization's average salary for ICT manager is $8 500, your comp ratio would be 85%, indicating that your salaries are 15% below the market average.

Bring to market

Bring-to-market analysis takes this a step further by analyzing the cost of bringing employees who are being paid below the target market position up to the market rate.

For example, if the target market position for a marketing manager is a salary of $8,000, and your organization currently pays its marketing managers an average salary of $6 000, you would need to increase the salary by $2000 each to bring  them up to market rate. By conducting bring to market analysis, you can identify areas where your organization may be lagging behind in terms of compensation and make informed decisions about how to adjust your salaries to stay competitive.


In the ever-evolving world of talent management, customised salary surveys are an indispensable tool.

By providing precise, relevant, and actionable data, these surveys empower businesses to make informed compensation decisions, attract top talent, retain valuable employees, and foster a culture of fairness and transparency.

Investing in customised salary surveys is an investment in the future of your organization, ensuring that you have the information you need to navigate the complexities of the modern workforce and achieve your business objectives.

  • Nguwi is an occupational psychologist, data scientist, speaker and managing consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management and HR consulting firm. Phone +263 24 248 1 946-48/ 2290 0276, cell number +263 772 356 361 or e-mail: [email protected] or visit


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